Polyurethane Floor Coating or Epoxy?

You may be wondering exactly which floor coating to put in your garage or other area and it may be a tossup between polyurethane or epoxy floor coating.

This can be confusing since both polyurethane and epoxy are great for protecting floors against damage, stains, oils, chemicals, and wear and tear. They are light reflective, they last long, and they are easy to clean. Both have their own set of advantages based on how they are applied, so which is the best?

Well, you may be surprised to find out that it can be beneficial to use both.

The reason is because epoxy is what is called a thermosetting polymer. It can be water based, solvent based, and 100% solids. These three different formulations allow for different thicknesses from 3 mils to over 10 for a single coating on a surface like a garage floor. There are also special bonding characteristics, such as bonding well to concrete that has been properly prepared. It may even be used as a resurfacing agent for concrete that is old and worn.

Then there are the epoxy formulations that are 100% solids that make surfaces very thick, hard, and impact resistant.

When it comes to polyurethane, it is also a thermosetting polymer and is considered to be high performance.

Of the formulations that are available, garage floors tend to benefit from aliphatic polyurethane. This type is around 60 percent to 70 percent solids and has a thickness of around 2 mils to 3 mils. It is not as easily adjustable as epoxy. However, the thinner thickness should not fool you because there is actually more flexibility than epoxy and that means it actually absorbs impacts better. It is also more abrasion resistant and is U.V. stable. This means it won’t yellow over time if it is exposed to some sunlight. The surface is not as hard as epoxy, but there is more scratch resistance and it is more tolerant to temperature fluctuations.

So in the end, you can get the most performance by using both epoxy and polyurethane, especially when coating a garage floor. Epoxy will build up the thickness of the floor coating, while finishing it off with polyurethane as the clear coat will protect it.